Doing Business in the Middle East: Understanding Middle East Business Culture

Doing Business in the Middle East: Understanding Middle East Business Culture

Key tenets of Shariah law and its importance in the Middle East

What are the key ways in which international organisations can operate and do business in the Middle East?

Dealing with bureaucracy / notarisations and attestations 

The importance of the spoken word over the written agreement

Appointments and meetings: etiquette and protocols

The role of entertaining in the middle eastern business environment


This workshop explores Middle East and Gulf States culture and business culture and how it differs from the UK and Europe.

This intensive one day workshop will equip participants with a practical understanding of how best to work with colleagues and clients from across the GCC member states.

How will this Workshop be Presented?

This workshop combines theory and practice. We use company examples to illustrate how the techniques presented have been applied in real case studies. The purpose is to use a mix of proven learning techniques to ensure maximum understanding, comprehension and retention of the information presented.

What will it cover?

An introduction to the Middle East 

  • What is the Middle East, the Arab World, and the GCC, and how do they operate 
  • Legislative framework and governance 
  • Distinguishing features 
  • Similarities and differences between the Middle East countries 
  • How is the Middle East perceived, and why (and how) is business being done there? 

Company structures and hierarchies 

  • Types of business entity/structure open to international organisations to do business in the Middle East 
  • Licensing and regulatory issues 
  • Notarisations and attestations  
  • Free Zones 
  • Commercial agencies 
  • Dealing with conflicts and disputes / Criminal penalties 

An overview of Middle East culture and practices 

  • Personal Relationships: knowing who you are dealing with 
  • Implications of Islam on Middle Eastern culture 
  • Key tenets of Shariah law and its importance in the Middle East 
  • Tolerance and understanding: how and where to practise it 
  • Hospitality and entertaining 
  • Ramadan 

Doing business – the importance of personal relationships 

  • KYC 
  • What does success depend upon 
  • Working Practices and the Working Week 
  • Structure and Hierarchy in Middle Eastern companies 

Appointments and meetings – etiquette and protocols

  • Body language do’s and don’ts 
  • Lefts and Rights 
  • Timekeeping and punctuality 
  • Breaking for prayer times 
  • What to expect in the meeting / The typical structure and format of meetings 
  • Bargaining and haggling 
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